In a shocking incident, Maharashtra forest authorities arrested four people for allegedly raping a Bengal monitor lizard in the Sahyadari Tiger Reserve near Gothane village. The accused are out on bail for now.
They were booked for illegally entering Chandoli National Park. One of them was carrying a hunting gun with him.
The accused were being probed after they were booked on March 31 for illegally entering the forest when the crime came to light, the police said.
Sahyadari Tiger Reserve is spread over four districts including Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri.
The perpetrators are identified as Tukaram Pawar, Mangesh Kamtekar, Akshay Kamtekar and Ramesh Ghag.
The police official stated, “During the investigation, the forest officials found that the accused had allegedly raped a Bengal monitor lizard. Their act was also recorded in a mobile phone of one of the accused persons.”
He added, “We have recovered all the related evidence from the accused and they were granted forest department custody initially, but are out on bail now.”
“The four accused have been booked under various sections of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972,” field director of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR), Nanasaheb Ladkat said.
Bengal monitor lizard is a reserved species under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and the accused can be sentenced to seven years of imprisonment if held guilty.